Mini-Split Systems have been around for a while, but they’re just beginning to receive a lot of press as a viable cooling solution for homes. Professionals have always seen the advantages of these systems – they’re a great flexible solution for homeowners who don’t already have central air or heating and are easy to install. Homeowners have been a harder sell…can a ductless system really provide the same level of comfort as a traditional central system?
The answer is: it depends. For many homes, mini-splits are a great choice, but like every major home purchase, research is required to make sure this system will work with your particular space and lifestyle needs. Here are the top five reasons we love these systems for clients seeking a non-traditional heating and cooling solution.
1. They’re Great for Homes that Don’t Have Existing Central Air
If your home doesn’t have existing central air, it might be worth taking a look at mini-split systems. Most homes that don’t have central air are older, which means that the process of installing ductwork could be cumbersome and expensive. Plus, there’s no guarantee that the ductwork can be hidden without some level of construction.
Mini-splits, on the other hand, have no ductwork, making them great for older homes and new additions. The hardest part of setting up a mini-split in an older home is figuring out exactly how many blowers your home will need, where they should be installed, and where the compressor unit should be located outside the house. There is no lengthy installation process because all that is required to connect the blowers to the outdoor compressor unit is a small hole (about three inches in diameter) in an outside wall.
2. They Tend to Blend with A Room
Unlike bulky window units, mini split systems tend to blend in with a room. They’re less noticeable because they are usually installed on a wall close to the ceiling, so they’re well above eye level. However, if having a mini split unit visible is still out of the question, there are several DIY hacks out there showing you how to hide the units.
When considering this type of system, ask an HVAC tech about your options for hiding the blower unit. You’ll be surprised at the many ways you can either disguise or hide the mini split from view entirely. Some may require construction, but it will still be less of a hassle than installing central air.
3. Installation is a Breeze
For central A/C systems, installation can be an invasive, time-consuming process. You will end up with a system that works for you, but retrofitting an older home with ducted heating and cooling takes a lot of work and can change the way your home looks. For some homeowners, central air is the right option, but for others, the cost, time, and construction required for central A/C just isn’t worth it.
Mini Splits, however, require a three-inch hole cut in an exterior wall to connect the blower to the outside condenser unit. Depending on the type of system you purchase, you may be able to connect multiple blowers to a single condenser, reducing the amount of work needed to get your system up and running. It’s about as minimally invasive as you can get, except for window units that are temporary and can be moved easily.
4. Some Mini Splits Offer Heating and Cooling
As time goes by, we see more and more clients opting for mini split systems that offer heating as well as cooling solutions. Again, this is a great option for homes that don’t have existing central heat, or who have rooms that just don’t stay warm in winter. We like these systems as an add-on for homes that have problems regulating temperature – think of it as a way to zone your home without having to change an existing HVAC system.
5. They’re Extremely Energy Efficient
Unlike window units, mini split systems tend to be extremely energy efficient. Clients who are turned off by the initial purchase cost are often surprised by the savings they see on energy bills. Depending on the system you opt for, many mini splits now offer smarter features such as programmable thermostats that help to regulate the temperature of your home. Even without extra features, however, they’re easy to switch on and off and take less time to heat or cool a smaller space, which means you’ll likely see some energy savings if you go this route.
Considering a mini split system? Give us a call at (205) 871-8111 to schedule a consultation!